Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Mom's Writing Group? (And Dad's too, ofcourse.)

Another mom from my playgroup asked if I knew anything about writing groups, because she wanted to start writing a short story and wanted to find a group.

Ha ha ha. Such a question.

I told her that not only have I taken writing groups, but I also have created them and led them, both for teenagers and for adults.

We started talking about how we would manage to do a writers group with the babies. Moms are too tired to join and be creative at night. How confusing and crazy it would be to do a group with the babies running around. What kind of options would we have? Should we hire a babysitter during the group to watch the babies, but also allow the moms to keep the babies? They could go back and forth between mom and babysitter.

Then I started thinking, new moms have short attention spans and do a lot of multi tasking. They are tired. They don’t have a lot of free time. But they are also dealing with a life that is hugely changing—their identities, their activities, their emotions (thanks hormones). A lot of moms need to have adult company and conversation. A lot of moms need something just for themselves, to remember that they are not just baby feeders. Many moms are also starving to be creative.

A moms writing group would have to consist of short activities. I would definitely be using journals for this. Journals that we could write in during those free spare moments. I would also gear the class towards the individual moms and what their long term goals were. Do they want to keep track of their baby’s babyhood? Do they want to write a novel? Do they want to explore what it means to be a mom? Do they want to write short stories for themselves? to get published? Do they want to write poetry?

It would have to be 15 minute exercises during the sessions, probably in the journals. Each mom would have goals for writing that week. They would photocopy their pages and bring them in for the other moms to read—not during the meeting, but during the next week. There would have to be a limit to how many pages we expect the moms to read during the week. During the meetings, we would comment upon what we read that week. We would also talk about being creative, and the difficulties, solutions, joys.

This is just brainstorming, but I know I should just go ahead and put it together. We could meet in a cafe. We could meet in the park if it was nice. We could even meet in a bar—during the day when it was slow. Many have quiet backrooms. We could meet in my apartment (but then I’d have to seriously babyproof and keep the damn place clean). Shoot, we could meet in a different place every week.

I wonder if I should charge for this. I mean, it’s kind of my business, isn’t it. But then I get all insecure about charging. Despite the degree in creative writing, the degree in teaching, the experience as a professional teacher, the years I have spent creating and leading workshops of all creative manner, the research and writing I have done on the subject of creativity—despite all that, I still feel like I am faking a little, when it comes to asking for money. D’oh!

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